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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Tap Handle #450: Fat Head's - Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Tap size:  9"
Rarity: Uncommon
Mounting:  large 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

With Fat Head's Brewery's opening of a new brewpub near me in Portland last month, you can expect a post next year since I plan to visit there. For now, however, I'll settle for profiling their tap and brewery history. This tap looks amazingly like the chubby guy on the label. He's quite the character, bald and potbellied, wearing nothing but sunglasses and a barrel, and holding a frothing mug of beer. There's a label attached to both the front and back that indicates the variety of beer. The detail is excellent, and the Spooky Tooth label (which seems to be a pretty rare one) depicts the Fat Head guy as a vampire. Thanks to the soaring popularity of the brewery, these taps are plentiful and easy to find on the secondary market, and are reasonably priced.

Click through to read more about Fat Head's Saloon & Brewery, their Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and to see more photos of this hilarious tap...

Fat Head's Saloon was founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1992 by Glenn Benigni. The Saloon had 42 beers on tap, a real ale hand pump, and about 100 menu items, including Headwiches (sandwiches as big as your head). Benigni located the pub in a historic Victorian building that was constructed around 1870 and was based on the style of Italian Renaissance villas. Guests could choose to sit inside at one of the 23 bar stools, 22 tables, or outside on the Fatio (patio) at one of the 12 covered tables.  One of their sandwiches was voted #5 Best Sandwich in the US by Maxim Magazine, and the pub was featured on Food Network's Outrageous Food. 

In 2009, brewer Matt Cole desired to open a Fat Head's franchise in North Olmsted, Ohio. Cole first encountered Fat Head's Saloon as a student at the University of Pittsburgh. He later went to work at Pittsburgh's Penn Brewery and Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing Co. before a decade-long stint at Rocky River. When he thought about going out on his own, he met with Benigni, and the conversation resulted in a new venture, in which the two men were partners. The new Fat Head's brewpub kept the Headwiches, added smoked meats and pizza, and for the first time brewed Fat Head's beer, which was also distributed to the Saloon in Pittsburgh. To start brewing, Cole purchased an elaborate brewing system from the Pittsburgh-based Hereford & Hops, which had gone out of business. The North Olmsted location also included a spacious dining room, game area and a bar that seated 40, with seasonal outdoor dining. Wood and stone dominate the room, giving the place the warm feel of a country lodge.

The brewery quickly found success. Producing over 5000 barrels in its first 3 years of business, Fat Head's beers gained notoriety by winning multiple medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Fueled by high demand and an explosion in popularity, they expanded to a full-scale production brewery in 2012, with the new production facility located in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. The new facility included a bottling line, allowing Fat Head's to bottle its own beer.

In 2014, Cole decided to expand by establishing another Fat Head's franchise, locating it in Portland, Oregon, only a few blocks away from such landmarks as the old Henry Weinhard's brewery (now known as the Brewery Blocks), the Deschutes Brewery's Public House, the Rogue Brewery's Public House, and Powell's City of Books. In choosing Portland as the location for their expansion, Fat Head's faces serious competition, but they also chose a savvy market. Portland ranks high on virtually all lists of craft-beer meccas, and Oregon was recently ranked ranked as the top state in the country in the quality of its craft breweries by Thrillist. The brewpub building was formerly a piano store dating to the 1940s, and includes a bar, booths, varied seating, gift area, kitchen, brewhouse, and a significant amount of cold storage. It features extremely high ceilings, rafters and a glass front, with a capacity of 278 customers and featuring a food menu with over 100 items. The brewery has two 30-barrel vessels, seven 20s and four 10s, a glass windowed room full of brite tanks for conditioning and serving, as well as kegging. Up a couple of flights of stairs above the brewery is grain storage and the milling room. Spent grain goes to a local mushroom farmer.

Spooky Tooth is a spice ale that is rich amber color, with an aroma of sweet pumpkin pie and savory spices with hints of sweet malt. It is rich and creamy with a chewy mouthfeel that you can sink your teeth into. Flavors of pumpkin up front then sweet malt, pie crust, spice, hints of brown sugar and a clean finish. Recommended food pairings are turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.64 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  87 out of 100 (very good)

Fat Head's Brewery
24581 Lorain Rd.
North Olmsted, Ohio, USA 44070

Fat Head's Portland Brewpub & Brewery
131 NW 13th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209

Source Material
Fat Head's website

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